News Column

Jazz and blues festival set for August

July 4, 2014

By Cody Neff, The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va.

July 04--There's a free festival coming to Beckley that will give you and your family a taste of jazz, blues and gospel music.

The Simply Jazz and Blues Festival Remix will be held at Jim Word Memorial Park on Neville Street on Aug. 1-3, a change from the original venue the Sandstone Drift Recreation Area last year.

Festival coordinator Doris "Lady D" Fields said the move came about because of low sponsorship support.

Fields hosts a radio show called Simply Jazz and Blues on 94.1 every Sunday.

"I've been doing that for the last four years," she said. Tamarack sponsors that show. The audience built up from that.

"It let me know that there is an audience here in southern West Virginia for jazz and blues. I thought that last year was the time to try a festival. It's something I always wanted to see in this area, was a blues, jazz, and gospel festival."

In this second year of the festival, Fields says she wants to focus on education.

"Fruteland Jackson will be coming," she said. "He's the father of blues education in the schools. It's for kids, but it's for adults, too, that don't realize blues is America's roots music. We also have the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame Traveling Museum.

"We're hoping to do an instrument petting zoo. We don't want to have bounce houses and things like that. A lot of kids and adults in this area don't know about the blues and this gives them the opportunity to participate and touch instruments and have instruments demonstrated to them. There will be some folks here to represent a jazz education."

Fields says she knows southern West Virginia is perfect for a jazz festival.

"We hope people will come out and try it. It's hard to say 'support' it when a lot of people in this area have never seen live jazz or blues.

"I think a lot of people are skeptical as to whether they even like this type of music. By putting it right on the street where people can't miss it, we give people the chance to see if they like what they hear. We want to engage people in this area since the blues influenced all music."

The Simply Jazz and Blues Radio Show is on every Sunday from 7 to 9 p.m.

The festival will run from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 1, from 11:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Aug. 2 and from 1 to 5:30 p.m.Aug. 3. Admission is free.

If you have any questions about the festival or would like to be a vendor or a sponsor, call Fields at 304-222-2536 or e-mail her at The line-up for each performing artist is available at www.simplyjazzandblues. com.

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Source: Register-Herald (Beckley, WV)

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